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45th ID Combat Medic, WIA by a Schu-mine

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Trying a new format for my pics with this one.


Private Paul Melicharek was born to a small family of Czechoslovakian immigrants and by the time of the war worked as an elevator operator for Chase Bank on Wall Street. He received his draft notice in late 1943 and began training in field medical procedures. Shipped to Europe, he was assigned to the 180th IR, 45th ID as a replacement following the invasion of Southern France. Attached to an infantry platoon, Melicharek became quite familiar with the brutalities of war as a frontline combat medic in the terrible fighting of the Vosges Mountains. In early November, however, he would find himself on the receiving end. Chasing a German unit that had retreated to Raon L’Etape, the infantry soon became bogged in a dense forest full of roadblocks, booby traps, and massive fields of Schu-mines. It was in one of these minefields that Melichareks platoon-mate made a fatal step. Luckily he was only beside him, but he still suffered shrapnel injuries to his eye, hand, and arm. He would recover by he end of the month, however, and rejoined the 45th for operations pushing into Germany


I’ve always been a big fan of the 45th, not the least because they fought much alongside my grandfather in the 36th. I know the uniform is fairly plain, but this was my first combat medic uniform and I found the story interesting. The neat patch stitching seems to have been done by the vet for decorative purpose. There is evidence where it was once fully sewn on but perhaps he wanted to be a little more frilly in occupation. Still, I am proud to keep the story and sacrifice of Private Melicharek alive.


Also, much thanks to Plick27 for the research help.

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Situation map and location of the 180th

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It appears the forests were covered with these

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GEN. David R. Atchinson- MO State Guard              ACW

PVT. John H. Drury- Co. A, 27th Ky IR                      ACW               Died of Typhoid

PVT. Henry E. Thomas- Co. I, 17th Ky IR                  ACW

PVT. Joseph E. Drury- Co. E, 356th IR, 89th ID       WWI                WIA

SGT. Edward P. Drury- 51st QM Training Co.           WWII

PFC. Delmer C. Koonter- Co. I, 142nd IR, 36th ID    WWII              WIA

SC3c Michael C. Drury- LCS (L) (3) 70                     WWII

SGT. Steven D. Koonter- 5th Cav, 1st Cav Div         Vietnam

SGT. John M. Drury- 227th AVN Bn. 1st Cav Div     Vietnam


Contact me with items from the 36th Infantry Division or any IDd uniforms of European Theater Infantry Divisions

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